A healthy body and a healthy mind need between 7-9 hours of sleep. In fact, when a child is born, it is considered that the more she sleeps the better growth is. This is because a lot of the detoxification and recovery of the body happens when you sleep. Good and sound sleep is very important not only for physical rest but for mental peace as well.
Regular sleeping hours help us maintain physical, emotional and mental balance. If one doesn’t get proper sleep, it often becomes difficult to focus during the day. Full sleep makes us more efficient and creative and helps us to adjust our temperament and mood.
WHAT IS SLEEP HYGIENE?
Sleep hygiene is less heard of and is considered a fancy term by most people. Sleep hygiene, the term, basically means getting good, healthy and required sleep and practices that encourage it. Waking up frequently amidst sleep, frequently turning and tossing, waking up tired most mornings are all signs of troubled sleep. These can all be fixed with proper sleep hygiene.
Some important factors that contribute to good sleep are correct temperature, calm & quiet room, adequate darkness and most importantly a comfortable bed to stretch and lie down on. Ensuring these things are the first step to getting good sleep.
Although sleep requirement changes with age, children and adolescents need more sleep than adults. Despite popular beliefs, even short sleepers, need at least six hours. Getting this much sleep is the bare minimum to avoid weariness and exhaustion during the day. Most people require long hours of sleep, between 8-10 hours of regular sleep. Not getting sufficient sleep leads to sleep-deprived and fatigue all day long.
PRACTICES THAT PROMOTE SLEEP HYGIENE
- A most important aspect of sleep hygiene is to get enough sleep. If you find yourself energetic after 6 hours of sleep, then make it this your routine. Or take a seven sleep and still feel tired then go for long hours of sleep. It’s important to understand what your body needs.
- Once you know your sleep requirement make a regular sleep schedule. Keep consistent hours of sleeping and waking up, regardless of whether it is a weekday or weekend.
- Have a fixed and devoted place for sleep. A comfortable bed and a set place, subconsciously help put us to sleep.
- Avoid talking on the phone or long reading hours in bed before you sleep.
- Switch off any and all gadgets like laptops, televisions, mobiles, etc., at least an hour before your sleeping time.
- Keep the room you sleep inadequately dark and cool. The temperature should be neither too cool nor too hot.
- A daytime nap can act as a productivity booster. However, if it interferes with your night sleep then consider reducing or eliminating it.
- The place you sleep should also be quiet, not too noisy since that distracts and deters sleep.
- Avoid consuming heavy food late in the night. Eat your dinner several hours before sleeping.
- Drinking enough water is good for health but avoid high water intake in the evening. A full bladder can disturb your sleep.
- Intake of alcohol and caffeine disrupts sleep, so avoid consuming either after sunset.
- Work out and exercise boost metabolism and tire the body which, hence one gets good sleep. A vigorous workout is advisable but at least 3-4 hours before your sleeping time.
- When you head for the bed to sleep, put your all anxieties aside. If you are not able to sleep even 20 minutes after getting into the bed, get up and do something to relax. A lot of people practice mindfulness and guided meditation before sleeping.
Practices that encourage sleep hygiene are easy to inculcate. Including these in your schedule will not just enhance your chances of achieving full sleep, but also keep you more relaxed and calm throughout the day. Getting sufficient sleep is one of the most basic requirements of the human body. Sleeping well is just another source of fuel for your body. How will your body function without fuel?